The attack ‘meets the definition of a war crime,’ dozens of academics wrote
Amid mounting criticism of Saturday’s anti-Israel statement by 35 Harvard student organizations, dozens of the university’s faculty signed their names Wednesday to a letter condemning the Hamas attacks and denouncing the student groups’ message.
“Hamas planned and executed the murder and kidnapping of civilians, particularly women, children, and the elderly, with no military or other specific objective,” the professors wrote. “This meets the definition of a war crime.”
Research Professor of Government Harvey Mansfield, psychologist Steven Pinker and Harvard President Emeritus Lawrence Summers were among those who added their names.
“The Israeli security forces were engaging in self-defense against this attack,” the signatories wrote.
The student organizations’ anti-Israel letter stating that they hold the nation “entirely responsible for all unfolding violence,” with no denunciation of violence by Hamas, “can be seen as nothing less than condoning the mass murder of civilians based only on their nationality,” according to the letter.
Additionally, Harvard’s latest statement at the time had failed to thoroughly condemn the violence or distance the university from the speech of its student leaders.
“Sometimes there is such a thing as evil, and it is incumbent upon educators and leaders to call it out,” according to the professors.
The letter added to the growing reaction against the student groups’ controversial statement.
Billionaire hedge fund manager and CEO Bill Ackman wrote Tuesday on X, “I have been asked by a number of CEOs if @harvard would release a list of the members of each of the Harvard organizations that have issued the letter assigning sole responsibility for Hamas’ heinous acts to Israel, so as to insure that none of us inadvertently hire any of their members.”
“If, in fact, their members support the letter they have released, the names of the signatories should be made public so their views are publicly known,” Ackman wrote.
I have been asked by a number of CEOs if @harvard would release a list of the members of each of the Harvard organizations that have issued the letter assigning sole responsibility for Hamas’ heinous acts to Israel, so as to insure that none of us inadvertently hire any of their… https://t.co/7kzGOAGwp9
— Bill Ackman (@BillAckman) October 10, 2023
Danielle Mikaelian, a Harvard law student active in multiple campus groups according to information she has posted online, said Tuesday on X she had resigned as board member of one of the groups that had co-signed the statement.
“I think it was egregious and have resigned from my role,” Mikealian wrote. “I am sorry for the pain this caused. My organization did not have a formal process and I didn’t even see the statement until we had signed on.”
Several groups also retracted their signatures from the statement, including the Harvard Undergraduate Nepali Student Association, which wrote that it “regret[s]” that its decision to sign “has been interpreted as a tacit support for the recent violent attacks in Israel.”